Name: Brody Thompson
Farm: John Givens Farm
Location: 720 Ward Drive, Goleta, CA 93111
What They Grow: Specialties include a variety of leafy greens and salad mixes (including kale, swiss chard, dandelion greens, arugula), cilantro, parsley, spring onions, squash, sugar snap peas (a local favorite), cucumbers, carrots, and other “green juice” favorites.
Where to Buy: Farmers Markets, including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Thursday in Goleta and Carpinteria, Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara, and Sunday in Goleta and various L.A. markets. Additionally, John Givens produce is regularly featured on the local menus of Blue Agave, bouchon, Wine Cask, and Seagrass.
In Season Now: Leeks, heirloom and juicy cherry tomatoes, tri-colored bell peppers, string beans, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, carrots, cruciferous vegetables including their popular purple cauliflower, strawberries, beets, and sweet white corn.
Their Story: Over 30 years ago, John Givens left his corporate job at Raytheon to start farming with business partner Chris Thompson, one of the founders of Fairview Gardens in Goleta and the current field manager of Givens Farm. This unique farming partnership bred one of the largest and most successful farms in Santa Barbara Country. Branded under the “Something Good” label, the farm started with a mere acre, eventually expanding to more than 180 acres in 12 locations.
Chris Thompson’s son, Brody, decided to stay in the family business and has become a passionate advocate for sustainable, organic agriculture. “I love being part of an environment that grows its own food,” he said. “It feels great to be outside surrounded by fruits and vegetables. There is nothing better, for both one’s health and happiness.”
Certified organic for 25-plus years, Givens Farms is committed to a more sustainable farming ecosystem — from composting to cover cropping and offering greater biological variety. As Thompson points out, the farm harvests daily, so consumers have a chance to sample the best produce available.
“There are no hidden costs to eating local: It’s great for the environment, for your health, and the economy,” said Thompson. “You want the best doctor, but why not the best food? Food is the best from of preventative medicine.”
Providing high quality produce year-round, the farm even offers its own CSA (community supported agriculture), making it is easy for locals to get quality produce delivered straight to your door. “Santa Barbara is great — people are really open-minded regarding food,” he said. “Farming is hard work, but our reward is the constant customer support. We are creating something positive for the environment for years to come.”
Baked Parmesan Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat over to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over the kale leaves, and use your hands to toss and coat the leaves. Lay them out side by side on the parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 12-20 minutes until leaves are crisp. Take a peek at the 12 minute mark — the timing all depends on how much olive oil you use. If the leaves are paper-thin crackly, the kale is done. If the leaves are still a bit soft, leave them in for another 2 minutes. Do not let the leaves turn brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt (and cheese), and serve.